Some of the first tabletop games many of us played were played with family as children, and those memories are intrinsic to why we are gamers today. Kids remind us of the importance of play, and it’s one reason why ITTD is also for them. So here’s a few games (and some accompanying tips) for making ITTD a fantastic day, no matter your age.
Crossing is a game of whimsical fantasy art which is as beautiful as it is accessible to children. The premise of the game is remarkably simple: gems are put on a number of mushroom tokens.
Players simultaneously point at the token they want. If a single player is pointing at a mushroom, they get the gems on that mushroom. If more than one player is pointing at a mushroom, nobody can claim the gems and they remain on that mushroom. New gems are added to mushrooms every turn, so a single mushroom can accumulate a stockpile of gems.
After the first turn, players may also try to filch gems instead of collecting them from mushrooms, pointing instead at gems accumulated on a players’ card (which have been collected from mushrooms on previous rounds). Players can also protect their stash, which banks the collected gems, making those gems unavailable from that point forward, in exchange for a player not participating in the next turn’s collection (because they’re bringing their haul home).
When there are no more gems available, points are scored and a victor is determined. The game plays in about 15 minutes.
The mechanics are simple, the art and components are beautiful, and the game is such that a child can teach this game to others, which is an important skill and experience all gamers should have.
Zany Penguins is a game whose adorable art belies a remarkably strategic small-box game. The premise is each player controls an army of penguins trying to assert control in various geographic zones (the Antarctic, the urban zone, the moon, the jungle and the desert.) Players are dealt a pile of cards from which they draw a hand from the top. These cards depict a zone for control, as well as strength within that zone. Players must pick a card to pass to an opponent on both sides of them, take the cards passed to them to add into their hand and then choose to reveal a card from their hand to assert control in a zone.
When the draw pile for players is depleted, players add up the strength they have in each zone. The player with the most control in a zone scores points equal to the strength number of cards with that zone in their hand.
Bluffing, hand management, and anticipating other players are all skills required in this game. The art and theme make it appropriate for older children, but the mechanics make it interesting for adults, meaning this game is an excellent family game. And like many games on this list, it plays in 15 or so minutes, meaning that it’s quick to play and learn, which is an important element to making sure kids can develop mastery over a game quickly.
Also: Napoleon penguin. Any other argument is pretty much invalid.
Like all the games on this list, a kid-accessible theme, lovely art, and simple mechanics make this game perfect for kids. In Diamonsters, the deck of cards is filled with cards of 5 different monster types, each with different bid values, unique abilities, and a gem value (from -2 to +2). Each player starts with one of each type of monster. A monster card is revealed from the draw deck and players bid on the prize monster using one of the monsters in their hand. All players reveal this card simultaneously. Bid values of the same monster type cancel each other out, and the card with the highest value wins the card initially revealed, adding it and their winning bid card to their monster collection.
A round is finished when a single player has 3 of the same monsters in their collection or a total gem value of 5 in their hand. The first player to win 3 rounds wins the game.
The simplicity of this game masks the opportunity young gamers have to develop their bluffing and hand management skills, not to mention rudimentary maths skills (counting to five). This game is all about counting to five and can be successfully played with children as young as five and easily taught by children as young as 7. Requiring minimal reading and developing basic math skills makes this a great game for younger gamers.
Here’s one last tip: games that are great for kids also turn out to be great late-night games when the little one are in bed and the grown-up drinks are out.
What games do you play with the little ones in your life? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: Teri Litorco
Image Credits: Teri Litorco